Structuring our Prayers

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SilentDawning
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Structuring our Prayers

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Aug 2020, 08:03

In the missionary lessons, we used to teach investigators a simple approach to prayer -- We Thank Thee, We ask Thee. Two sections.

However, years ago before I was a member of the church I met with a minister of another faith who told me to structure my prayers as Thanksgiving, Intercession (praying for others), Repentance (praying for forgiveness for things we have done) and Petition (praying for things we would like to know or see happen).

How do you structure your prayers? If you do? Do you think it's worthwhile to structure your prayers, or is a stream of consciousness better?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Roy
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by Roy » 12 Aug 2020, 10:07

SilentDawning wrote:
12 Aug 2020, 08:03
However, years ago before I was a member of the church I met with a minister of another faith who told me to structure my prayers as Thanksgiving, Intercession (praying for others), Repentance (praying for forgiveness for things we have done) and Petition (praying for things we would like to know or see happen).
fascinating! I do imagine that having these extra steps changes things. A section specifically for praying for others? I honestly do not recall ever praying for forgiveness (though part of that may be due to my personality). I believe that the repentance function for me was partially outsourced to weekly sacrament meetings and the occasional visit with the bishop. It is honestly interesting to consider what it would look like for repentance to be a daily and ongoing aspect of prayer.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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nibbler
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by nibbler » 12 Aug 2020, 15:20

The simple prayer structure missionaries teach may be meant to ease people into a practice that is unfamiliar or initially makes them uncomfortable. I remember many people we taught being intimidated by offering a prayer.

That said, the simplified prayer structure taught by missionaries is the widely adopted prayer structure at church.

I don't know that there's a wrong way and a right way to pray. There are pros and cons with structured prayer, there are pros and cons with stream of consciousness prayers.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SilentDawning
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Aug 2020, 07:20

To answer my own question, I started using this four-part section in the last couple days. I find it helps. For example, I found myself praying for people in my circle of influence in a lot higher quantities. This creates a sense of inner peace; like service, praying for others causes a certain amount of inner peace in itself . In the past, my simple "we ask thee" section led to me asking for things I needed, with rare intercession for the needs of others.

The structured prayer also led me to contemplate those areas where I need to repent more intensely than in the past. Strangely, I couldn't think of anything to repent of, now that living the untraditional believer's Mormonism has become acceptable to my conscience! And I have been pretty good with my family relationships. Being sequestered in my home due to COVID has minimized interactions with other people and therefore, sin.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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nibbler
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by nibbler » 13 Aug 2020, 08:49

SilentDawning wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 07:20
...now that living the untraditional believer's Mormonism has become acceptable to my conscience!
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." ― John Steinbeck
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SilentDawning
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by SilentDawning » 13 Aug 2020, 09:42

DarkJedi wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 04:57
I take a Deist approach to God and believe God has little if any interaction with humans. I do believe miracles exist and are possible however rare they are.
This would mean, therefore, that you don't really believe in certain parts of the prayer structure I gave then, doesn't it? For example, if you believe in God as the watchmaker, and without much intervention, wouldn't it mean that only the thanksgiving section and repentence sections of the prayer are relevent? The other parts -- intercession, and petition would be irrelevent wouldn't they? Because, according to the Deist approach, petitioning God for things we need or through intercession for others yields few if any results ?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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DarkJedi
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Aug 2020, 10:27

SilentDawning wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 09:42
DarkJedi wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 04:57
I take a Deist approach to God and believe God has little if any interaction with humans. I do believe miracles exist and are possible however rare they are.
This would mean, therefore, that you don't really believe in certain parts of the prayer structure I gave then, doesn't it? For example, if you believe in God as the watchmaker, and without much intervention, wouldn't it mean that only the thanksgiving section and repentence sections of the prayer are relevent? The other parts -- intercession, and petition would be irrelevent wouldn't they? Because, according to the Deist approach, petitioning God for things we need or through intercession for others yields few if any results ?
Actually since I don't believe God intervenes there is little point in prayer and I don't believe in prayer. I do sometimes pray, though (but being completely honest it is very rare). On those rare occasions when i do pray I don't ask for anything, for me or for anyone else because what would be the point? I might as well be asking the cat. I do sometimes express gratitude in the form of "I'm glad...." or hope in the form of "I hope...." I do not "repent" via prayer (repent means change, so again what would be the point?). FWIW I talk to the cats way more often than I talk to God but the results are generally comparable.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Aug 2020, 11:20

DarkJedi wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 10:27
SilentDawning wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 09:42
DarkJedi wrote:
13 Aug 2020, 04:57
I take a Deist approach to God and believe God has little if any interaction with humans. I do believe miracles exist and are possible however rare they are.
This would mean, therefore, that you don't really believe in certain parts of the prayer structure I gave then, doesn't it? For example, if you believe in God as the watchmaker, and without much intervention, wouldn't it mean that only the thanksgiving section and repentence sections of the prayer are relevent? The other parts -- intercession, and petition would be irrelevent wouldn't they? Because, according to the Deist approach, petitioning God for things we need or through intercession for others yields few if any results ?
Actually since I don't believe God intervenes there is little point in prayer and I don't believe in prayer. I do sometimes pray, though (but being completely honest it is very rare). On those rare occasions when i do pray I don't ask for anything, for me or for anyone else because what would be the point? I might as well be asking the cat. I do sometimes express gratitude in the form of "I'm glad...." or hope in the form of "I hope...." I do not "repent" via prayer (repent means change, so again what would be the point?). FWIW I talk to the cats way more often than I talk to God but the results are generally comparable.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Aug 2020, 16:44

I only structure some of my prayers, and I do so minimally.

The rest are more like casting a net upward and hoping fish swim by. I'm not disappointed when they don't (or I don't see them); I'm happy when they do (or I see them).

I don't pretend to understand prayer, so I don't care, ultimately, about structure. I care only about intent.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: Structuring our Prayers

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 25 Aug 2020, 04:31

Hahah. I tend to structure my prayers a little too much. I tend to listen much more than when I used to pray before my mission and on my mission. The only time I asked God forgiveness is when I did something majorly wrong. Now I do it normally when I pray. Meditation has helped me get so much more out of my praying. I know some late presidents of the church taught meditation, but I wish it was something I would hear more from the pulpit these days.

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